Five people were stabbed in Monsey, New York Saturday evening during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home, according to police.
The suspect, a black man, was arrested around two hours later in New York City, a New York Police Department spokeswoman said according to CNN. The stabbing is just the latest in a series of attacks against the Jewish community.
“Let me be clear: Anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity, and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate,” Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement according to CNN.
Cuomo called the attack an “act of domestic terrorism” when visiting the rabbi’s home Sunday morning.
The victims are Hasidic Jews, according to the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council for the Hudson Valley Region. The attack occurred as the rabbi was “lighting the candle” during the seventh night of Hanukkah, Aron Kohn, who was there during the attack, said according to CNN.
There were around 100 people at the rabbi’s house celebrating Hanukkah, Kohn said. The rabbi hosting the celebration was Chaim Rottenberg, the New York Times reported.
“I was praying for my life,” Kohn, 65, said according to the NYT. “He started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door. We didn’t have time to react at all.”
We will NOT allow this to become the new normal. We’ll use every tool we have to stop these attacks once and for all. The NYPD has deployed a visible and growing presence around Jewish houses of worship on the streets in communities like Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Boro Park.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 29, 2019
Two people are in critical condition according to the council’s co-founder Yossi Gestetner. The suspect’s knife was “almost like a broomstick,” Kohn added. (RELATED: 40,000 Jews Have Fled France In 10 Years Amid Rising Anti-Semitism)
The man tried to run into the nearby synagogue Congregation Netzach Yisroel after the attack, but someone reportedly locked the doors after hearing screams from the rabbi’s home.
Over 30% of residents in Rockland County, where the stabbing occurred, are Jewish, CNN reported. There have been at least eight reported possible anti-Semitic attacks in New York in December alone, CNN reported.
The names of the victims and suspect have not yet been released.